April 21, 2022

Improving Regional Access through affordable airfares

Jon Robinson

— By Luc Boily

On April 19, the Quebec government unveiled its regional air transport plan, which will introduce a $500 cap for round-trip plane tickets to various destinations within Quebec. To fund this initiative, Transport Minister François Bonnardel confirmed a $261 million investment over 5 years.

As a first measure, the Quebec government plans to renew existing emergency programs. These programs will be extended until March 31, 2023, in order to aid regional airlines and airport administrators. Subsequently, the government will provide a financial subsidy to eligible air carriers maintain a $500 airfare cap for regional destinations inside Quebec. The program will be in effect starting this summer.

Furthermore, residents of isolated areas who are already eligible for the current Airfare Reduction Program will be able to benefit from a financial adjustment. The maximum reduction amount per person will be abolished in order to remove all travel limitations. Finally, the government will offer financial support to guarantee a minimum frequency of flights to isolated areas. Agreements could be negotiated with specific air carriers in order to offer adequate services to destinations served by a single airline or where services are deemed insufficient.

“Our government believes that regional access is essential for the economic vitality of Quebec’s regions. Regional air travel is a complex issue which previous governments never had the will to address. We felt it was essential to give Quebecers access to affordable flights,” commented Mr. Bonnardel.

“Thanks to the $500 cap on plane tickets introduced by our new program, Quebecers will have unprecedented access to the great diversity of touristic experiences offered right here throughout our province,” added Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx.

During its first year, the plan’s implementation will be supported by a $61M investment. It should be noted that air travel programs already exist for Nunavik’s population, namely the IIaujuq program and the Kativik Regional Administration’s Airfare reduction program. Nunavik residents will also be able to benefit from the regional air transport plan’s reduced airfare when they travel to eligible destinations.

(Image: Répertoire des municipalités : Administration régionale Kativik)